Eesti Energia's Viru Mine will be closed at the beginning of next month, short of its 50th anniversary, with 100 of the 460 employees to retire and 100 to be laid off.
The June 1 closure also marks the twilight of a technology that dates from the 1950s.
"One aspect is technical and the other is economic. The field is so spread out that the workplaces are distant and the geology has deteriorated so that there is no point in extracting the remaining 8 million tons of oil shale via the Viru Mine," said Eesti Energia Kaevandused board member Erik Väli, who says that this is better accomplished via the Estonia Mine.
That reorientation will ease the blow for many workers, who will move to Estonia mine. But others will retire, some early.
As to those laid off, Ida-Viru County currently has over 400 jobs available, according to the Unemployment Insurance Fund - half of them in industry, where welders and bulldozer operators are needed. These are the closest professions to mining.